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      Stay Safe This Independence Day

      Posted on July 03, 2012 at 8:00 AM


      As we celebrate our history and take pride in our nation this July 4th, the Dayton Administration and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) encourage Minnesotans to take extra care and caution while behind the wheel.

      In Minnesota, July 4th has been the deadliest day on the road for the last three years, resulting in 15 traffic deaths over the 24-hour period. “The spike in drinking and driving deaths during the Fourth of July is a clear and simple reminder why Minnesotans need to plan ahead for a sober ride” says Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety. During the holiday travel period, 66 percent of traffic deaths are a result of drunk driving.

      With a stated mission “to create a culture for which traffic fatalities and serious injuries are no longer acceptable,” The DPS, along with the Departments of Health and Transportation, the State Patrol, and others, have started the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative which works through “education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency medical and trauma services” to improve road safety for Minnesota citizens.

      As part of this initiative, the DPS and Governor Dayton encourage Minnesotans to stay safe on the roads year-round by remembering these four safety tips:

      Buckle Up: Insist passengers wear seat belts—under Minnesota’s primary seat belt law, drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled up or in the correct child restraint. 

      Pay Attention: Minimize distractions by turning off cell phones, limiting conversations, not eating while driving, and putting passengers in control of the radio. 

      Drive at Safe Speeds: Always stay below the speed limit, and adjust your speed based on driving conditions.

      Never Drive Impaired: If you plan on partying, plan on a safe and sober ride in advance.

      As you enjoy your holiday, remember to help make the celebration of our nationhood a positive experience for everyone by keeping the roads safe—both for yourself and for others. Extra enforcement will be on the roads during the July 4th holiday.

      For more tips on staying safe this summer, visit the MnDOT Office of Traffic Safety website, the TZD Education page, or the Minnesota Crash Victims Memorial site.